On Becoming a Mother

May 4, 2015

On Becoming A Mother | www.nalumana.com

If you had asked me three years ago, I would have told you that becoming a mother wouldn’t – couldn’t – stop me from fulfilling every single one of my life’s ambitions.

Those who know me know that those ambitions happen to look a little more like “spend a month on a research vessel in the Antarctic ocean scuba diving with leopard seals and icebergs” rather than “contribute $200 a month to my retirement savings plan.” But I digress.

It’s true, I suppose, that becoming a mother hasn’t really stopped me from doing the things I love or dream of, although admittedly my priorities have changed in ways I could not have anticipated, or even considered, over the last two years.

The thing I do know, though, is that no matter where I am or what I’m doing, the mom-ing never leaves me.

Case in point: a while ago, I had to interview a well-known chef for a freelance article I was working on, and sample some of the dishes that I would be writing about.

I know: rough life, eh?

Well, my poor little baby girl decided that would be the day that she would fall ill enough to be sent home from daycare. I spent the morning with her snuggled on my lap, head resting under my chin and warm, panting body wrapped in a blanket, wondering how the heck I was going to pull off my afternoon mission, which simply could not be rescheduled.

With trepidation lumping in the back of my throat, I bundled her up with plenty of time to spare and drove to the interview. I couldn’t help but feel woefully unprofessional when I showed up with a pink snowsuit-clad companion who perked right up when she saw the display case full of elaborate, fondant-draped cakes.

I spent the next hour chasing her around the lobby, luring her with snippets of Elmo YouTube videos, and fending her off of the food that I was sampling, knowing that the dairy-filled treats would cause her to go into respiratory distress if she snuck one into her mouth.

I’m lucky that in my regular day job working in a family resource centre, this kind of shenanigans is practically expected. But in the male-dominated restaurant industry, it throws people off a little. Despite all this, I have the Mom Power, so I ignored the sidelong glances, ate the food while standing sideways next to the table with Ada on the opposite hip so she couldn’t reach it, spent the drive home thinking up choice ways to succulently describe what I had just eaten, and stayed up late that night to finish the article.

Whether my three-years-ago self likes it or not, I am always a mother. Even when I’m sometimes a food writer and sometimes a public health professional and sometimes a scuba instructor. I can do 800 things at once, have superhuman strength in my baby-carrying arm, and can keep my voice calm and soothing during an hour-long, snotty, thrashing, screaming tantrum, and I will never devote 100% of my attention to anything outside of mothering ever again, because I always have my baby on my mind.

And yet somehow, I am more and better and faster and stronger and smarter than I was before.



The Becoming Podcast has been on a short hiatus while I focus on writing my book, but oh what a comeback episode I have for you!

This month, I spoke to Toko-pa Turner, who many of you may know as the unofficial patron saint of many of my circles and gatherings because of the sheer number of times I’ve quoted from the wisdom of her book, Belonging.

Toko-pa is a Canadian author, teacher, and dreamworker. Blending the mystical teachings of Sufism in which she was raised with a Jungian approach to dreams, she founded The Dream School in 2001, from which thousands of students have graduated. She is the author of the award-winning book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, which explores the themes of exile and belonging through the lens of dreams, mythology, and nature. This book has resonated for readers worldwide, and has been translated into 10 different languages so far. Her work focuses on the relationship between psyche and nature, and how to follow our inner wisdom to meet with the social, psychological, and ecological challenges of our time.

Here’s some of what Toko-pa and I talk about in this episode:

> The dream that changed Toko-pa’s life, causing her to question her career and, ultimately, her identity

> How we can court our dreams to support us during times of radical transformation – and the reasons so many of us have a hard time remembering and working with what shows up in our dreamscape

> Toko-pa’s perspective on the message of Belonging after the divisiveness our society has experienced in the years since it was published

> What happened for both Toko-pa and I when we fell out of belonging from the ideologies of the “wellness world”

> How to build community when you’re under-resourced

> “The Big Lie” when it comes to belonging, and how we can reclaim a sense of belonging to the greater family of things, as Mary Oliver so famously wrote

Listen to the episode on iTunes


Show Notes

Toko-pa’s Website

Belonging:  Remembering Ourselves Home, Toko-pa’s book

The David Abram video about animism mentioned in the interview

Toko-pa’s self-guided program, Dream Drops

Companion, the program that accompanies Belonging


Also, while you’re at it, if you enjoy The Becoming Podcast, I would be so grateful if you would rate and review, and even subscribe to it on iTunes.  That goes a long way to helping more and more people find and benefit from hearing these interviews!  Thank you so much!